Thinking About the Future
If you have traveled lately on an airplane, one thing that you will hear is: This is the last time I am flying ever! For some of us it cost or environmental considerations. For others it might be the sheer unpleasantness of the process or delayed or cancelled flights. It simply is not fun to fly anymore, period. Flash forward 40 years into the future and looking at carbon reduction scenarios, a question starts to form. And that question is: Will flying be one of our transportation options? I suspect the answer to that is: No. This is in large part because economical flight was made possible by cheap oil and we will likely not see electric or solar powered planes. So what happens to our airports? It strikes me that now is a good time to be doing a little visioning about these large urban and suburban blocks of land. Should LAX become an incubator for agriculture much like the Intervale in Burlington, Vermont? Should these areas become wildlife refuges or bird sanctuaries when bird densities become assets rather than liabilities? Perhaps they become combinations of transportation hubs (bus and train) as well as agricultural? And what happens to neighborhoods around these former flight paths when they suddenly become quiet or blessed with food or wildlife amenitities? There are lots of possibilities to consider and we should start discussing this now in order to be prepared. Let the talks begin.